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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Seek the Kingdom of God

This morning I planned to get up around 6 or 6:30 am, and be in to work around 8:30 am and work a nine hour day. You see, yesterday morning, because I was up too late Sunday night, I decided to sleep in, for I do have that freedom in my work schedule.

But this morning, I slept in, too. I just plain didn't want to get up. I tried sitting up a couple times, but both times, thought better of it and rested my head on my pillow once again. I looked up at my icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and a nearby picture of Jesus, wishing I could be with them. Knowing that, if I got up, I could get to Mass if I rushed.

But no...I remained in bed. The second time I sat up and laid down, I began to wonder if, actually...was I depressed? Was this two-day-in a row problem with getting up a symptom of an actual chemical imbalance in my brain? Was I sick? I really had to consider I depressed?

No. I'm not. Just...utterly and completely lazy. I COULD have gotten up. I just didn't want to.

Now, to be fair, once I did finally get up around 8:30 am, I did note some scratchiness in my throat and I have a little cough, so it could very well be that this fatigue is a symptom of an oncoming late summer cold. But...really, I feel fine.

The reality is that, during my "free" time this summer, when I wasn't on my discernment retreats, I got into the habit of staying up very late, knowing that I could sleep in. The irony here is that even THEN I often got up to go to Mass by 8 am...knowing that I could nap later. Now that I'm back to work full time, there is no napping. I need to get up and GO GO GO! School starts this coming weekend, and between the fact I know that both work and classes are going to be overwhelming me once again, well...I'm stressed.

I've long known that when stress enters my life, in many ways, I "shut down" and have to struggle to overcome that. I have to take a step back and objectively look at what's going on, and in so doing, turn each thing over to God.

This morning as I got ready for work, I wished I could just call in. In walking the dog, wanting silence, I didn't have my CD player (I don't own an ipod, can't afford it), so all I could hear was the noise of big trucks backing up, people yelling in the park as they played soccer, motorcycles, trucks, beeping, name it. I live in large suburb but with all the noise around here you'd think I live in Times Square.

On that walk I realized that what I was really craving was...God. I need to go to Confession, I need to go to Mass. I need to RECEIVE Him in Holy Communion. The great irony of working full time, even in a church, is that once I'm on that work schedule I often don't have time to go to Mass. And..I needed true silence. The visit to the monastery has made me crave silence in a way I've never before experienced. Even before I went, I was eliminating noise from my house, but I can't control the noise of the city around me. And unless I stay into close contact with God, I can't maintain that private cloister in my soul where only He and I communicate. The outside world is too loud, and if I "leave", it becomes too boisterous to bear.

I do have to allow a little more honesty to enter into this "conversation", though. There IS one Mass I could get to, 6:30 am. There are many reasons why I don't go, and there are days that I wouldn't be able to make it and for good reason. But...most days I have no excuse.

I'm not a fan of walking my dog in the dark for most of the year. It sometimes creeps me out. But my biggest problem....I have gotten used to staying up late and so I don't want to get up in the morning. No, I'm not a morning person, but's MASS! People all over the world risk their LIVES to get to Mass and I'm too lazy to deprive myself of a little sleep a simple adjustment in schedule would solve?

But there's more....

There's a deeper reason I don't want to get up in the morning, and it isn't just laziness.

I'm weary from the battle. In all my hobbies and busy-ness and life, I know that God is trying to say something to me. In my last reatreat in silence and solitude, I became more deeply attuned to the presence of God in my life, and I can't escape Him, no matter what I do. He is with me in every moment. He sees everything I do, and even if I don't understand the reasons...He does. I can't escape His compassion, I can't escape His sacrifice. I can't escape His love, which He is showing me all the time, even as I run from Him.

But in my own panic I've been using everything around me in a spiritual "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" and this can only go on for so long.

I can't get up in the morning because, in doing so, it means I have to face God. I open my eyes, and here He is. The early morning, the first few moments of rising are the most honest of our entire day. If we have any regrets, they crash down right then. If we have any doubts, they crowd in at that very moment when we are at our weakest. If we know we've been running for too long, we realize it then.

It's easier to pull the blanket over my head and close my eyes, feigning sleep as I did when I was a child and didn't want to wake up. It's easier to shut everything out, to delay the morning crush.

I'd rather face myself in the mirror after a rough night of tossing and turning than wake up to that spiritual assult of Truth, day after day.

So, this morning, I realized that it was time to return to simplicity: "First seek the kingdom of God."

I realized that being deprived of the Sacraments (Sunday is NOT enough!) is a problem, for I can't do anything without Him. I realized that I'm weary because I'm trying to shut God out and He will never tire, nor will He ever give up. If I try to keep this up, I'll be decimated, and rightly so.

I considered calling in to work this morning, as, I thought, my boss would be there but I had a few things to discuss with her. So I decided to work a couple hours then come home, spend time in prayer, being honest with myself and with God, and hopefully I'll be able to get to Confession tonight. (the time is limited and if the line is too long, which it often is, I might not be able to go).

I've decided that, with both work and school crushing down on me, I have to put myself on a schedule. It seems that prayer is always the first thing to be tossed, and when that happens, I lose everything.

I'm going to compose a schedule to follow, including regular time for prayer throughout the day. FORMAL prayer. I don't have the Liturgy of the Hours for nothing. I'm going to do my best to get to Mass if it means going at 6:30 am every weekday. Once school starts, I need to dedicate my short evenings to study, and then I need to get to bed. Even during my workday, I know that I can schedule regular prayer most days. I don't consider this to be a "break" but a requirement of the spiritual life and my job, and I know that neither my boss the DRE nor Father bats an eye at the idea of running to the church or chapel for prayer. I'm pretty sure they see it as a necessity, too.

If I can fulfill this schedule, it means less time for blogging and social networking. It means I need to get ahold of myself and dedicate myself to God. If He doesn't come first in EVERY MOMENT then I will be lost forever.

Of that I have no doubt.

For those who wonder why I'm writing this? Both for accountability (putting it in print has meaning!), and, well, take a look at the text in my sidebar:

"To whom do I tell these things? Not to you, my God, but before you I tell them to my own kind, to mankind, or to whatever small part of it may come upon these books of mine. Why do I tell these things? It is that I myself and whoever else reads them may realize from what great depths we must cry unto you. What is closer to your ears than a contrite heart and a life of faith?" ~ St. Augustine


It's no secret to any of my readers that I'm not a Saint. I'm crabby, I get crabbier when I'm frustrated, and I'm a sinner. I tend to lash out instead of hold my tongue, and then, the part you don't see, is how I beat myself up about it. Much of this could be solved if I just spent more time with Him, and less time with myself.

Anyone seeking holiness knows exactly what I mean by that...maybe all of it.

I'm sorry for the offenses that I've caused and ask for your forgiveness. I hope that I can follow this schedule (which I haven't written yet) and ask for you all to pray for me.

Thank you and God bless you.


Catholic Mom of 10 said...

Can relate to a lot..but although I have 10 kids I don't have as much to do..I catch evening Mass every really helps..I've overdone things though so i'm taking a bit of time off the blog to recover..will pray for you..

Regina said...

Gosh, what an honest and open post this is... so much of what you have said here, I can relate to all too well. My prayer life is virtually non-existent but I do think about praying all the time- it's a start, I guess. And maybe, I pray a little- I know I do- when I really need something. I would really like to visit the Holy Sacrament more often- and as for Mass, well, I know I can get to it if I really put my mind to it, but all these excuses come up... it's a dreadful thing to realize about yourself, really- and I am speaking of myself here- that I am lazy in my own vocation as a living, breathing Catholic.
I really appreciate your post here and I too, will be praying for you- and for myself now.
I've only just found your blog but I love it- you are inspirational- really. So, secretly, I hope you do keep on posting- as much as you can, anyway.

Mary333 said...

I will pray for you. As for not being a saint...join the crowd cause I'm crabby too. Good thing Our Lord loves crabs. Have you ever read the poem " Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson? Your post made me think of this poem.

Hidden One said...

"Hound of Heaven" is one of my favourite poems of all time.

Just sayin'.

Julia said...

"Anyone seeking holiness knows exactly what I mean by that...maybe all of it."

Yup, it all sounds familiar to me.

(I get nervous about commenting on your blog now! I don't want to say the wrong thing! :))

Adoro said...

Julia ~ just ignore me. I pretty much suck. Thus my apology at the end of this post.

I'm going to go back to beating myself up now for being such a bitch I've scared everyone away.

I'm sorry. :-(

Julia said...

Aw, I'm sorry! I didn't mean it like that! Now turn that frown upside down!

Julia said...

Longer response:

You don't suck.

I think that personal bloggers totally have the right to say what kind of comments they do and don't want.

We all support you. We all want your blog to be helpful to you, first of all, and helpful to us, secondly. We don't want to leave comments that you find annoying or aggravating or harmful or unnecessary. We want to leave you the types of comments that you want to read! We/I just don't know what that is!

Now, we know that you don't want advice comments. I think that's smart, and I totally agree. :) But, what kind of comment DO you want?

I hope I'm not the only person wondering this!

Adoro said...

Julia ~ Truth is truth, no matter how it's intended. You're not the first to say it, and the others didn't mean offense, either.

But what I said is true, completely 100%. I can't change that. I can try to overcome it, but I can't change what I've done and who I've offended.

Adoro said...

Julia ~ I want you to say what you think and what you believe no matter whether you think it'll offend me or not. If I'm offended, it's my problem (well, usually...that excludes trolls and flamers and rude people.) The reality is that I have probably the cleanest, nicest, most intelligent, and most respectful commenters on the internet. Granted, maybe that's because I'm not posting on politics or usually, hotbutton issues. And if I DO post on those things, the problems don't come from you "regulars". They come from people who happen upon the blog and try to start fires. Opportunists.

So don't worry about me and don't be afraid of me. My bark is nasty, but I promise I've never really bitten anyone. I've only thought about it but decided to gnaw on something else instead. ;-)

And on my part, I need to be more self-aware and if I'm feeling crabby, I need to not comment, or post or what-have-you. Or at least have some chocolate first.

Julia said...

Normally I just agree with you. :)

Chocolate and prayer solve all problems! Maybe not in that order, though. ;)

YouKnowWho said...

The reality is, offending others is part of the human condition. We all do it, and we all get offended. The key is to acknowlege the offense (given or recieved), learn from it, ask God's grace to not repeat it or react to it, ask forgiveness when appropriate, confess ... AND MOVE ON. Do NOT beat yourself up because you've offended someone. It is part of the human condtion... read Genesis if you're not convinced of that. From the 1st sin, offending others is part and parcel of we weak human beings.

Kristinacm said...

Wow. What a post.
I left it open on my desktop for a whole day. Guess I could say tht I 'resemble your remarks' (almost to the point that I could have written them myself). Except maybe I am more guilty of being grumpy on the *inside* rather than the outside (I have kids, and I have a 'no grumpiness' rule in the house... can't risk getting caught breaking my own rule :-)

During the school year I make it to mass M-F in addition to Sundays ... but in the summer I succumb to laziness and do the bare minimum. And by the end of every summer I feel detached and distant, wondering what is *wrong* in my life. DUH.

Love your posts! (BTW, how is 'Tommy' doing?) :-)

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro:Turn your head! Jesus' face is right there!

Noise at your place?!? Come over here some time. Seriously, your place is an oasis of silence for me compared to the drama over here.

Say hi to Fuzzy for me.